Healthy Corner Stores
Easy access to fresh, healthy food is now a reality for some low-income communities in Pitt County. As part of a Communities Putting Prevention to Work (CPPW) grant received in 2010, the Pitt County Health Department established the Making Corner Stores Fit for Pitt initiative. The initiative is designed to address food deserts—areas with limited or no access to fresh and healthy foods—which are prevalent in low-income communities throughout Pitt County. Individuals living in these communities often rely on corner/convenience stores to provide access to groceries. Project staff convened with local corner/convenience store owners and local farmers to identify ways they could work together to increase the availability and affordability of healthier foods in these outlets. The Making Corner Stores Fit for Pitt initiative resulted in improvements in products, prices, placement and promotion of healthy foods. Pitt County now has four corner stores that are increasing access to healthy foods. The stores report a net profit between 30% and 32% from this initiative. The owners are optimistic and have many ideas about how to continue increasing access to quality, healthy foods, while making it financially viable as well.